The late 90s were a bountiful time for metallic hardcore, and few did it like Drowningman. Formed in Burlington, Vermont, the band was a staple of the northeast, fitting in perfectly with fellow acts like Converge and Cave In. In Drowningman’s case, there’s a level of confidence on display in that early work that you wouldn’t hear elsewhere. They could get discordant and heavy as all hell, but finesse songs into more mellow affairs. Tracks like the standout "Sadder Than Saturday" show a level of songwriting that weaves between the extreme and serene. Blending noise rock, big room anthems and gigantic riffs, it’s been an if you know, you know staple among metalcore-heads for decades.
Now’s a perfect time for the new generation to dive in. Iodine Recordings is reissuing their debut album, Busy Signal at the Suicide Hotline on vinyl, in celebration of the record's 25th anniversary. Originally released on Hydra Head Records, the album is a maze of angular riffs, total chaos and everything that makes metallic hardcore an essential genre. This new release also features two bonus tracks, originally from their split with The Dillinger Escape Plan. Nowhere will you hear the roots of metalcore come to fruition than on this album. Be it how Every Time I Die misheard a lyric from the record’s title track and making it into their band name, to the countless modern acts indebted to New England's fruitful scene, it’s a gem of a record that’s hard not to obsess over.
Busy Signal at the Suicide Hotline features Simon Brody on vocals, Javin Leonard and Daryl Rabidoux on guitars, Dave Barnett on Bass and Todd Tomlinson on drums. The album was engineered by Joe Egan, mixed by Steve Evetts and mastered by Dave Merullo. Remastered for vinyl by Jack Shirley (Deafheaven, Jeromes Dream, Quicksand).
Drowningman: Simon Brody, Javin Leonard, TJ Maynard, Matt Roy, Will Molleur.
Photo by: Coleman Rogers